A law clerk from Dunedin and the son of William and Agnes Bannerman, Ronald Burns Bannerman was educated at the Otago Boys' High School and Otago University. On 19 April 1916, it was announced in the Otago Daily Times that he was passed as fit for active service. Trained to fly by the Walsh Brothers, Bannerman received his pilot's certificate on a Curtiss flying boat at the New Zealand Flying School, Kohimarama on 16 December 1916. He joined the Royal Flying Corps on 29 March 1917 and was posted to 79 Squadron in the summer of 1918. On the Western front, he scored seventeen victories flying the Sopwith Dolphin and was promoted to Captain in September 1918. After the armistice was signed, he taught fighter tactics and aerobatics in the Royal Air Force and served with the Army of Occupation in Belgium. Upon his return to New Zealand, he became a barrister and solicitor in Gore. Recalled to service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1940, he was appointed Chief of Personnel in November 1942. By 1945, he attained the rank of Acting Air Commodore, and became a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.). Bannerman was 87 years old at the time of his death.
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
Evening Post, Volume CXXXV, Issue 69, 23 March 1943, Page 3
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lieut. Ronald Burns Bannerman.
During recent operations this officer has done gallant service. While on an offensive patrol with two other machines he was attacked by several Fokker biplanes, and, in the engagement, he shot down one. In addition, he has destroyed four other enemy machines.
Lieut. (A./Capt.) Ronald Burns Bannerman,
A bold and resolute leader, whose ability inspires confidence in those who serve with him. During the operations in September he accounted for six enemy machines, displaying marked courage and judgment.